MARION, Ark. — A charter bus carrying students from Sherwood Middle School caught fire Friday morning.
The bus, belonging to Prime Time Tours, was fully engulfed in flames.
Arkansas State Police said it occurred not far outside Memphis along I-40, near mile marker 225.
SCS confirmed to WREG there were 86 students and 10 chaperones on board.
Thankfully, no one was injured.
The charter bus was hired by Shelby County Schools to take the students to Magic Springs for an end of the year eighth grade trip.
A spokesperson from SCS told WREG the bus experienced ‘mechanical issues.’
Eighth grader Armonee Jones was riding on a different bus on the way to Magic Springs, and said her bus picked up the students after they were evacuated.
Everyone returned back to Memphis where they were greeted by a tearful Creasha Tucker, Jones’s mother.
“I’m glad that I’m up here,” Tucker tearfully told WREG. “and I’m glad that they’re okay, all of them.”
“We are thankful our students and chaperones riding the bus to Magic Springs for a field trip are safe,” SCS said in a statement to WREG. “Safety is our top priority and Prime Time Tours, the company operating the bus that caught fire, was vetted using the requirements set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration safety standards. However, after Friday’s incident, Prime Time Tours has been suspended from the approved vendors list pending the outcome of an investigation.”
WREG tried to get in contact with Prime Time Tours but haven’t been able to speak with anybody.
Nick Welch, the Regional Manger of Spectrum Services, worked next door.
He told WREG the folks at Prime Time sometimes come and go.
“A lot of times, when they have packages delivered, parts and stuff for buses, I accept on their behalf, and then I give it to them,” he said.
The Better Business Bureau said Prime Time Tours was accredited by the BBB a couple of years ago.
It had an A+ rating on BBB’s website.
However, they revealed that Prime Time had not renewed its accreditation this month.
In January, a Jefferson Travel and Tours Inc. bus caught fire On I-55 as it was carrying Central High School athletes to an event in Whitehaven.
WREG uncovered that bus company was operating without a permit at the time.
On Friday, WREG checked each of the 17 current charter bus companies SCS uses.
All of them had a “Satisfactory” rating.
Here are the approved charter bus listings.